Deadwood Mountain

Chapter 1: The Meeting

I had only seen him once before: a man as pale as death, cloaked in shadows of the night, of bad lighting from a dim room, of smoke. He seemed like he was asking death and the devil to take him, the way he gambled and drank and smoked and in general angered the people around him. But death shook his solemn head, no, each time. This man got up and disappeared into the darkness.

This time however he was sitting in the sun, still paler that the white of a maidens wedding dress, but still cloaked in shadows, perhaps mystery. I could see three dark men walking up the street, their faces tense, their clothing black, but they held an inner light that shouted that they were 'good people'. He had that same light, dimmed by sickness.

As the three men walked up the street, I could smell the trouble brewing as easily as I could smell the liquor on the man about to start it. He was yelling something about blood, but the three men brushed him off. That's when He stepped in, gun already drawn behind his back. Cheating perhaps, but who is to say what's fair in a gunfight. The drunken man was pulled away by his friends and he went back to his place on the porch. I had to talk to him. I wanted to know what shadows covered him. I was drawn to him in a way that I found indescribable and disconcerting and I moved toward him as if my feet had a mind of their own, and the rest of me was simply along for the ride.

The minute I stepped into the sunlight, he spotted me. Of course I do stand out like a sore thumb in my male clothing (something no female should be seen in), with my hair the lightest blonde pulled back into a braid and my skin of golden brown, made to seem darker in contrast to my hair. As I approached him, I could see him tense slightly, a gesture only seen in the twitch of a foot brought closer to his body as if he could spring up at any moment. He could tell I carried guns and probably knew where all my knives were hidden.

"Interesting business on the street." I said casually as I leaned against the railing. He looked up at me as he lit a cigarette.

"That it was. And who might you be? I don't believe I've had the pleasure, and believe me I would have remembered someone with your attributes." He asked.

"My name is Georgiana Bolivar." I answered quietly. He looked to be mulling over my name. A few know it, most don't, but it was possible he had heard of me.

"The name sounds familiar, but I am unsure as to where I've heard it before. Should I be worried for my safety?" He teased. He knew who I was.

"No," I said tersely with an arched eyebrow. I don't like to be teased. It's half of the reason, my name is known at all. "I'm not in the mood to be killed, Dr. Holliday." I was also well aware of his reputation. I was not in any hurry to meet my maker.

"In that case, sit please." I sat on the edge of a nearby chair, where I could keep an eye on him and the street, much as he was. I may have been drawn to him, but I still very much preferred my soul to stay in my body. "Is it true you are from Australia?" He asked interrupting my musings.

"Partially. I was born in South Carolina, but when I was 5 my parents were murdered and I was sent to live with my Uncle in Australia. I stayed with him until he died. I was 20 when I came back to America."

"Interesting. Was it there you chose to dress and act like a man?" I was guessing that Doc liked his women in dresses and petticoats. Something I had never been fond of. They were fairly useless in the wilder parts of Australia.

"Yes. I helped my Uncle run a ranch. It's difficult to do that wearing a dress." I wasn't sure how, but I felt like I was telling Doc more than I was actually saying.

"Did he have you study, or are the rumors true that you're an ignorant, backwards wench?"

"I'm sure you're trying to be charming, in you own way, and I believe that is my cue to leave you." He raised an eyebrow at me, I guessed in amusement. I wasn't by any means entertained. Like I said, I don't like to be teased. I stood to leave and was visited with the full force of his gaze. I froze for a moment in the line of sight of those intense hazel eyes. I forced myself to nod at him and walk away. No matter how much I may have been drawn to him, I don't take teasing. I am entirely too sensitive for my own good, but I felt it best I take my leave before I said something that would probably get me killed. I left him watching after me and walked down the sidewalk and around the corner of a building. I also wanted to alter my appearance slightly. People tend to stare at anything odd. I tucked my braid down the back of my coat, buttoned my vest and put my hat back on. It was good enough to get people to ignore me. I headed for the stables.

After I entered, I shed the coat and hat. Horses don't care what you look like and mine was waiting patiently for his daily groom and treat. He was an elegant horse with high spirits and an easy manner, coal black except for a single with star on his forehead. I let myself into his stall and began the task he loved so much.

"It appears you had the same idea as me." A gruff voice to my left said. I looked up in the direction of the voice, startled, into sharp blue eyes. It was one of the men from the street.

"They do need their attention and treats. I would hate to have him mad at me for forgetting to pay him his proper due." I responded.

"I know how that is. I'm Wyatt, by the way." The man held out his hand. I accepted it graciously.

"Georgiana." He was leaning against the stall door next to mine. A black Thoroughbred nuzzled his arm. "I take it that this one is yours?"

"He is. This is Naylor."

"He's very handsome."

"We've been through a lot together. How about yours? Where'd you find him?"

"Sweden. I was traveling and I happened past an auction. It was love at first sight. This is Mutta Mutta* Tulang*. It means Thunder Heart in the language of the Aborigines."

From Sweden? That explains it. He looks a little too high class to be from around here. Interesting name." Wyatt smiled. I could tell he was teasing, but his teasing didn't have teeth. It was gentle. I was finishing up when Doc came strolling in.

"I see you've met Georgiana, Wyatt." Doc said. I ignored him.

"I have, and I'm off to rustle up Virgil and Morgan for a game of pool. Try not to sharpen your tongue on her, Doc, she's nice." Wyatt gave Naylor a last pat and walked out.

"Making friends?" Doc asked me.

"I was." I answered shortly. He raised an eyebrow at me in question. "I don't have many, so if I get the chance, I always like to make more."

"Wyatt is a good man and a good friend. Don't play with him."

"I wasn't aware that I was. He seems nice enough, but we only just met. I'm not that easy, besides I'm not interested in that sort of friendship. I want camaraderie. I don't have any friends at all, if you have to know the truth." He merely raised his eyebrow at me again. I didn't like it. It was starting to feel like teasing again, the kind with teeth. It was time to say something. "Look, you seem to be a gentleman, but I'm no lady. I'm tired of your insinuations. If you want to tell me something, say it. If you don't like me, or I annoy you, just say so. I'm straight forward, and I'm a lot happier when I don't have play the dance of swords with words."

"I have no issue with you. I like you. I apologize if I have offended you. I like you, that is why I spar with you."

"Offended? You haven't offended me, its just your tone. Too much sarcasm. I have trouble seeing past that…Its hard to explain." I picked up my hat and coat and turned to leave. He was making me fall over my words. I couldn't get my thoughts to form a coherent sentence to make myself understood. He touched my arm.

"I'm sorry, Georgiana. I am no gentleman. Please forgive me?" I turned back to him and studied his face. He was sincere. I allowed him to draw me back and I wrapped my arms around his waist, and hugged him gently. Its my way of accepting apologies from people I like. I knew I had knocked him off balance because he hesitated before hugging me back slightly. I breathed in his scent of clean line, aftershave, a hint of whiskey, and a touch of mint. It was heaven. It felt right to be there in that moment with him. I forced myself to step back before I made him even more uncomfortable. I gave him a soft, shy smile.

"Guess you know the truth now." I said after a moment.

"And what would that be?"

"That I put up a brave front, but I very much a woman beneath the surface."

"You, my dear, are a rare creature. I do not think that there is anyone like you in the world." Doc said as he took my arm and led the way out into the bright sunlight.

We walked down the street and this time despite the covering, people stared. I had to figure that they were staring at Doc, though, and not at me, but who knew. Of course, no one dresses quite like Doc does, nor is anyone quite as handsome as him either.

As we went around the corner, I realized we had come to the back doors of the hotel I was staying at. I was so lost in thought that I wasn't even paying attention to my surroundings. I walked mechanically up the stairs and around the balcony like walk way, to my room. Doc followed me. My room was simple. There was a comfortable bed, much larger that I was used to, a washstand and writing table. I was happy with it. Doc sniffed as we entered.

"What?" I asked slightly self-conscious.

"A little small isn't it?" He asked. I laughed.

"Not at all. This is more space that I'm used to. I don't need much. I mean, I could afford bigger or better, but this suits me." He nodded I went over to my small stove and set my pot on it. I pulled herbs, honey, and brandy out of my saddlebag, while he poked around. I heated the honey and brandy together, then added the herbs. There was nothing to do with it but wait for it to cook. It would make his cough feel better. I had heard it earlier when we spoke the first time and again when I hugged him, through the slight rattle in his chest. I glanced up to see where he was, and found him reading one of my songs. I wasn't sure which one so I peered over his arms. It was one called "Deadwood Mountain".

"Did you write this?" He asked.

"Yes, the music too."

"I would like to hear it some time."

"Deal. Are you interested in music?" I asked.

"Yes, I had some classical training when I was younger."

"Who is your favorite?"

"Chopin. Yours?"


"Such an odd man, Beethoven, although he was brilliant. I think it's the hair that throws me off, very wild. Why do you like him the best?"

"Moonlight Sonata was my mother's favorite. She used to play it for me all the time when I was a baby." I stepped back to tend the syrup on the stove. It only needed a few more minutes.

"What other things interest you?"

"I like horses. Music, the occasional poem, traveling. But my real passion is in healing. I learned what I could from the Aborigines in Australia. I went to the Chinese mystics too at one point as well as an Indian shaman. I like to heal because I like to think I'm atoning for some of the lives I've taken." I checked the syrup again before ladling it into a bottle. Doc watched me intently.

"What are you making then?"

"A syrup to help with your cough." He looked at me with some suspicion.

"How do you know I have a cough?"

"I listened to your chest when I hugged you. You have some small rattles in there. If I had to guess, I'd say its TB."

"And you hugged me anyway. Brave." I studied him. He didn't want to be pitied. He was withdrawing from me, because he was thinking that I pitied him.

"I know that look. Its not pity. I would make it for the richest man in the world or the poorest with equal desire: to help. It doesn't cure TB, but it will ease the cough."

"Fair enough, and thank you." He relented and took the bottle.

"One swallow in the morning and one at night. It's best to take it before you eat in the morning and right before you go to sleep at night. Take it east for a few days. I've noticed it will cause dizziness in some people. Let me know if you have any side affects and I'll make a new one." Doc smiled slightly.

"Are there any other side affects I should know about?"

"Other than the easing of the cough, no."

"Will you come down to the bar tonight and play for me?" He asked suddenly.

"If you would like, but only if you'll play me a nocturne." He laughed gently and agreed. He left a moment later. I stared at the door after he was gone. It felt odd to not be in his presence, as he had been ingrained on my senses in that short amount of time we spent together. I prepared another syrup to help fight the TB, and while it was simmering, I meditated on my day.

*Mutta mutta – means thunder in Australian

*Tulang – means heart in Australian

I've been a rambler all my life,

A bet it all gambler,

Yeah, I've let it all ride.

Never been afraid of losing,

There have been times I've lost it all.

But it won't really matter

Someday when I'm gone.

You can bury me

On Deadwood Mountain

By my brother Wild Bill

And my sister Calamity Jane

Don't bring me no flowers

Just a six-gun smoking

Put me eight feet down

When you bur me

When your heart runs deeper

Than a ghost town gold mine

You know you're bound

To find that mother load

And you'll spend your last heartbeat

Chasing after rainbows

There's no place you won't go

To win one more time.

You can bury me

On Deadwood Mountain

By my brother Wild Bill

And my sister Calamity Jane

Don't bring me no flowers

Just a six-gun smoking

Put me eight feet down

When you bury me.

And cover me

A little extra deep

Cause that's the only way

I'm ever gonna rest in peace

You can bury me

On Deadwood Mountain

By my brother Wild Bill

And sister Calamity Jane

Don't bring me no flowers

Just a six-gun smoking

Put me eight feet down

When you bury me.

Put me eight feet down

When you bury me.